After a considerable amount of bad press, Newegg has released an apology for its failings with its return process and has promised to update to a more reasonable policy.
Late last week, Gamers Nexus published a video slamming US etailer Newegg for its "shocking incompetence" based on the hardware channel host Steve Burke's recent experiences with the firm. The source of ire was the dismissive way that Newegg customer service treated him after he returned an open-box product that he hadn't even opened. When Newegg discovered that Steve Burke was from Gamers Nexus, its resistance to giving refunds rapidly evaporated. Now the big US etailer claims to have put in place new policies so similar errors won't be made again.
The timeline of initial events went like this:
- Burke ordered a motherboard costing ~$500 as it was necessary for impending content
- Before the product arrived an alternative motherboard was acquired
- A "30-day hassle-free return" process was initiated by Burke, so he could send back the unopened package
- After returning the motherboard, Burke was taken aback that Newegg didn't want to issue a refund as it said it found bent motherboard socket pins and thermal paste traces around the board's PCB
- Newegg customer service was reluctant to arrange calls about the customer's issue, making it tricky to set up a chat with someone who could talk with authority about refunds
In the video, Burke explains that the expensive motherboard was bought quite quickly, as it was needed imminently. The outlet wasn't really intending to buy an open box product, he explains, but Newegg has recently de-emphasized such details in its product listings.
With the above YouTube and social media coverage of its customer service failings by a high-profile techtuber, it was inevitable that Newegg would have to step up and say/do something. It started by trying to contact Burke, but he was obviously stung by previously being ignored so made them work to schedule contact.
Burke was happier after receiving the refund and getting the damaged motherboard sent back for him, to satisfy his, and our, curiosity. Above is a still from the video, showing the worst of the motherboard damage.
Newegg's Customer Service Update Statement
If something good comes of the above sorry tale, then it will be that customer returns of open-box merchandise from Newegg will, from now, be fairer. Sadly, Newegg's statement doesn't really take the evidence-based complaints on the chin. Rather it appears to try and paint a picture of Burke's experience being "isolated" or "one of a small number" of issues. Interestingly, the Twitter post's comments are mostly rather cynical about the "small number" of issues Newegg claims.
Customer Service Update pic.twitter.com/qxAYjDCdCUFebruary 14, 2022
Despite its seeming lack of willingness to admit any significant degree of guilt or systematic friction with regard to returns, Newegg specifically says that it has "put in place new policies to ensure a hassle-free return experience on open box merchandise returns on motherboards and CPUs."
For now, we can only wait and see if customer feedback in the coming months shows that Newegg has turned a new leaf with regard to its returns policies and practices. It would be wise to be more responsive to customer satisfaction, as negative stories about customer service can take a significant amount of time and effort to turn around. In other words, the stain of bad customer experiences is hard to wash away.